By Reggie Bourn ’21
Embodying the core value of faith at Saint Joseph’s College, the new Campus Chaplain Father Gabriel provides several new opportunities to engage in the Mercy tradition. In his position, Fr. Gabriel serves as a staff member of the Mercy Center, a department centered around ministry, social justice, and community engagement. He plays an active role in a variety of service and social justice initiatives, liturgies, retreats, and provides an active pastoral presence on campus.
Both in and out of mass, Father Gabriel loves telling stories about his life and ministry. He is often talking with students around campus and in the cafe. His masses bring a personal touch to them, drawing from stories and experiences to illustrate the gospel message. They also carry a touch of humor; Father Gabriel always manages to get churchgoers to chuckle at some point. He maintains an active and compassionate image on campus, and is well-recognized by students everywhere.
Remarking on his impressions of the first few weeks at Saint Joseph’s College, Fr. Gabriel said, “I’m happy to be here at the College and in Maine. I love the Mercy tradition as it is so full of compassion. I see compassion everywhere here on campus. I like how the students are being made conscious of the needs of the poor and how they are encouraged to take compassionate action.”
Fr. Gabriel holds a PhD in Philosophy from The New School of Social Research in New York City. A native of Kenya, he was ordained as a priest and served in the Archdiocese of Nyeri, Kenya. He also served as Vice Rector and Dean of Students at Christ the King Major Seminary in Nyeri until 1994 when he came to the United States. There, Fr. Gabriel celebrated mass in several parishes in the New York metropolitan area and worked as an adjunct faculty member at Dowling College and Saint John’s University, and as a chaplain at Molloy College. He is well versed in higher education, having studied at several institutes in Kenya, Spain, and the United States.
Fr. Gabriel celebrates the Mass daily at 11:45 AM and on Sunday nights at 7:00 PM. Several smaller blessings and ceremonies are observed throughout the semester, such as the Blessing of the Animals on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. He also sends emails reflecting on the daily Gospel.
“I love being a priest,” said Fr. Gabriel. “Most of all, I love celebrating Mass, but I also enjoy being connected with people. You become part of people’s lives.”